ABOUT VAN WEZEL FOUNDATION

Our Story

Fifty years ago, a city with a rich history of art, culture and philanthropy opened the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the center of civic and cultural vitality.

Since 1987, the Van Wezel Foundation has partnered with the City of Sarasota to foster a connection between the city, the people, the bay and the spirit of human creativity. Through this collaboration and the generosity of donors, the Foundation has provided grants of more than $14 million to ensure arts education training for more than 400 teachers and arts education programming to more than 30,000 students and at-risk youth across four counties each year.

Our Mission

The mission of the Van Wezel Foundation is to create a world-class performing arts center that enriches the community, supports arts education and inspires young minds. 

Leading Roles

VAN WEZEL FOUNDATION
BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2020 – 2021

Van Wezel Foundation Board Leadership: Jim Travers Board Chair* Jenne Britell Board Vice-Chair & Chair of Strategic Planning Committee* Vern Chalfant Board Treasurer & Chair of Finance Committee* Julie Harris Board Secretary* Michael Wilson Legal Counsel Van Wezel Foundation Board Members: Ali Bahaj Chair of Governance Committee* Gerald L. Biller Chad Campbell Mark P. Famiglio Michele Hooper Dr. Jaih Jackson David Koffman Michael Martella Dr. John Maupin Elaine McClure Karl Newkirk Nanci Ross-Weaver Chair of Arts Education & Community Engagement Committee* Charlie Wilson Van Wezel Foundation Ex Officio Board Members: Mary Bensel Executive Director, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Cheryl Mendelson CEO, Van Wezel Foundation *Executive Committee

COMMUNITY COUNCIL

Darrell Ayers
Jackie Griese
Stephen Griese
Ed Maier
Tracey Reid
Drayton Saunders
Jim Schaffner
Craig Steinhoff
Janet Walter
Christopher Weaver
Patricia White
Janet Winkler

EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS

Herta Cuneo†
John M. Dart
Beatrice Friedman†
John Jakes
Carolyn Michel
Michael R. Pender, Jr.
Harvey Rothenberg†

† deceased

STAFF

Cheryl Mendelson
Chief Executive Officer
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Sasha Hausman, CFRE
Director of Development
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Suzanne Hudson-Smith, CFRE
Associate Director of Leadership Gifts
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Nancy Denton
Annual Giving Manager
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Cathleen Mai
Administration Manager
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Alyssa Holcomb
Foundation Coordinator
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